The spread of the MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning) has been widely studied by linguistics, however, the continuous evolution of the platforms towards new and most effective solutions are leading to challenging products on the web. Duolingo is today one of the most famous apps able to involve students and teachers in a language acquisition process; this app provides a path to learn a language based mainly on gamification (Mahmudah, 2015): the students earn points in the learning platform as they advance through challenges and stories (Gonzalez, 2018). According to some researchers, it appears that Duolingo is built on motivation strategies including the effectiveness of its layout and the competition that is risen among learners from all over the world. Nevertheless, Duolingo cannot be considered as the ideal solution to all students' problems in learning a language because several negative aspects must be taken into consideration, such as poor feedback (Bodgan, 2016) or its relatively slow pace due to some repetitions of sentences and words (Gavarri, 2016). This paper aims to prove whether Duolingo can be an effective tool to learn a second language by analyzing the learning outcomes of a group of students that used Duolingo to practice the vocabulary compared to the second group which didn't use the app. The results will show that Duolingo can improve language skills but at the same time will be pointed out the crucial importance of the teacher role in the language acquisition process.
Laura Vigano', Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, Italy